Repairing the cracks in your concrete is more than just an aesthetic improvement. Water gets into cracks, causing additional damage. Cracked concrete walkways can also be a trip hazard. There are several methods for repairing cracks in concrete, as repair methods differ depending on the size of crack. You may need to use different approaches for different cracks on the same concrete slab. The most effective concrete patching methods involve a patching compound that is elastic enough to move with the surrounding concrete.
Vinyl Concrete Patch
Vinyl concrete patch is elastic, so it moves with the surrounding concrete as it expands in heat and shrinks in cold. This helps prevent the crack from reappearing. For this method, chip away loose concrete with a hammer and chisel, mix the vinyl concrete patch mix with water and apply it to the crack with a trowel. Vinyl concrete patch is appropriate for cracks wider than 1/8-inch and works on all types of concrete.
Epoxy Concrete Repair Kits
Epoxy concrete repair kits include tubes of epoxy and plastic injection ports for injecting the epoxy deep into the crack. They can be used on cracks as narrow as 1/16-inch wide and as wide as the opening on the injection ports, approximately 1/4 inch. Epoxy concrete repair is good for cracks that are several feet long. Repairs made with this method are long-lasting and can be sanded and painted to match the surrounding concrete.
Expandable polyurethane is a flexible material that you inject into cracks with a caulking gun. Expandable polyurethane is inappropriate for cracks in structural concrete, such as walls and foundations. It can be used on tiny hairline cracks up to cracks 1/2-inch wide. It expands to fill the entire crack, as much as 20 inches deep. Since expandable polyurethane doesn't become rigid, it will move with the surrounding concrete as it expands and contracts due to temperature changes.
For small cracks in visible locations, collect concrete dust by drilling in an inconspicuous section of the concrete. Fill the crack with silicone caulk, and work the concrete dust into the caulk with your finger. This method is appropriate when the crack is small enough to require only a small amount of concrete dust to cover it. This method is best used for exterior walkways and driveways, because drilling away even a small amount of a concrete wall, floor or foundation could lead to structural damage.
- "Home Maintenance for Dummies"; James Carey and Morris Carey, Jr.; 2010
- This Old House: Fixing Cracks in Concrete
- Polygem Epoxy: LCR FAQ
- Renovation Headquarters: Repairing Cracks in Concrete Walls
- Photo Credit Concrete street cracks image by Dreadman from Fotolia.com
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